In about two weeks, a new, lower-alcohol Maker's Mark will hit the shelves. The company is dropping the bourbon's proof from 90 to 86, or nearly 7 percent alcohol by volume. Rob Samuels, chief operating officer and grandson of Maker's Mark Founder Bill Samuels, Sr., said that over the last 18 months overseas demand has driven bourbon from the slowest-growing spirit to the fastest.
In order to meet demand, the company says, there is no other option than to water down its whisky. They are working on expanding production but each bottle takes over six years to produce, and supplies need to be stretched. In the meantime representatives stress that the new recipe will taste the same, noting that no other part of the process had changed. "In other words, we've made sure we didn't screw up your whisky," said the email sent to fans.
The first bottle of Maker's Mark with its iconic red wax seal was produced in 1958. Its familiarity makes it popular in bars when people don't want to consider an unfamiliar whiskey list.